Thursday, August 21, 2008

NCGOP E-Letter - August 21, 2008


Wrong Tools For The Job

By John Hood
Carolina Journal Online
August 20, 2008

RALEIGH – Bev Perdue needed a ladder. Instead, she brought a shovel.

Having dug herself deeply into a political hole over the past two weeks on the key issue of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, Perdue came into Tuesday night’s live television debate with Pat McCrory needing to offer a more coherent position. She needed to explain how she could go from being “100 percent opposed” to drilling off the North Carolina coast just last week to being, well, for drilling this week if Congress and a governmental panel say it’s okay – maybe. And she needed to perform better than in her first TV debate with McCrory back in June.

During the hourlong forum on WTVD, the Triangle’s ABC affiliate, Perdue did herself few favors. Overly programmed with soundbites, she overused some and stuffed others into unrelated topics. After each exchange, her face broke out in her trademark smile. Grins and gentility are worth something in North Carolina politics, but they’re no substitute for a relevant message, expressed clearly and convincingly.

Both candidates had some important rhetorical goals going into the debate. McCrory needed to tie Perdue to an unpopular Democratic administration in Raleigh while keeping the discussion focused on issues where he believes he enjoys an advantage, such as energy and crime. Perdue needed to tie McCrory to an unpopular Republican administration in Washington while making him look risky, unproven, or indifferent to middle-class anxieties about college affordability and health care.

McCrory accomplished his appointed tasks smoothly. After Perdue proclaimed herself “the health care leader in North Carolina for the past eight years,” McCrory referred several times to the failures of “this administration in Raleigh” over those eight years, on health care and other matters. Basically, she set herself up. The mayor kept it light, choosing a few opportunities to be personal or passionate – when he discussed the recent death of a mental patient in a state hospital, for example, or his attendance at policemen’s funerals – but otherwise seeming relaxed and confident….

That’s not the strategy Perdue chose. She chose to preen and peddle meaningless soundbites. And it cost her.

Click here for the full article…


By Doug Clark
Greensboro News & Record
August 20, 2008

The Perdue-McCrory debate produced by WTVD last night was very good. Too bad no Triad stations picked up the broadcast. I had to watch on the Web.

I scored the debate in Pat McCrory's favor. Counting opening and closing statements and answers to a dozen questions, I thought he won 6 rounds, Beverly Perdue won 2 and 6 were even.

McCrory's opening statement set the tone. He started by noting a Democratic attack ad on TV that's labeling him as dangerous for North Carolina. He said he thought the real dangers to the state are posed by gangs and crime, poor roads, a failing mental-health system and corruption in state government. McCrory effectively pursued those themes for the next hour.

Perdue claims an advantage in health care -- in fact, she twice called herself "the health-care leader in North Carolina for the past eight years" -- but McCrory answered with a strong reference to the state's mental-health debacle, an example of mismanagement that's cost hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of lives. As lieutenant governor, Perdue actually wasn't in charge of that, but if she's going to declare herself the state's health-care leader for the past eight years, she's inviting trouble….

McCrory probably was at his best on the issues of open government and crime. Perdue said all the right things in answering questions on those topics, but McCrory deftly pointed out quite correctly that Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and the Democratic legislature have not been champions of open government. Perdue didn't try to defend them. On crime, McCrory recounted the frustrations he and other mayors had for years trying to get the governor and legislators to pass tougher laws to deal with gangs. He also mentioned the Eve Carson murder case as evidence of the broken criminal-justice system….

Overall, however, McCrory handled himself very well and effectively took advantage of opportunities to rebut Perdue. She tried to hit him with haymakers about his support for school vouchers and opposition to the lottery but didn't connect for lack of time to elaborate. But both conducted themselves very civilly, giving viewers a better understanding of their views and personalities.

Click here for the full article…

Click below to view the entire debate…

Part 1 of the NC Gubernatorial Debate

Part 2 of the NC Gubernatorial Debate


By John Whitesides
Washington Post
August 20, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a sharp turnaround, Republican John McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race and is seen as a stronger manager of the economy, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

McCain leads Obama among likely U.S. voters by 46 percent to 41 percent, wiping out Obama's solid 7-point advantage in July and taking his first lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll.

The reversal follows a month of attacks by McCain, who has questioned Obama's experience, criticized his opposition to most new offshore oil drilling and mocked his overseas trip.

The poll was taken Thursday through Saturday as Obama wrapped up a weeklong vacation in Hawaii that ceded the political spotlight to McCain, who seized on Russia's invasion of Georgia to emphasize his foreign policy views….

McCain now has a 9-point edge, 49 percent to 40 percent, over Obama on the critical question of who would be the best manager of the economy -- an issue nearly half of voters said was their top concern in the November 4 presidential election.

That margin reversed Obama's 4-point edge last month on the economy over McCain, an Arizona senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war who has admitted a lack of economic expertise and shows far greater interest in foreign and military policy.

McCain has been on the offensive against Obama during the last month over energy concerns, with polls showing strong majorities supporting his call for an expansion of offshore oil drilling as gasoline prices hover near $4 a gallon….

Click here for the full article…


By Drew C. Wilson
Havelock News
August 15, 2008

Elizabeth Dole discussed military family issues during a speech at the Officers' Spouses Club of Cherry Point on Friday.

The U.S. senator, a member of the Armed Services Committee, spoke about the effort to help military families separated during deployments through the Red Cross' Armed Forces Emergency Services program, which helps families during times of crisis.

During an interview at the Havelock News prior to the base visit, she mentioned her close ties to the military while she was head of the Red Cross.

"I had actually several retired generals who had come out of the military who were heading up major departments," she said. "One headed up the blood services and another headed up disaster relief. We had lots of close connections to the military during those days."

Dole said a personal relationship with an Iraq veteran from New Bern and his family led to changes in the Family Medical Leave Act allowing for more time off work for family members of badly wounded troops.

Eric Edmundson suffered severe head injuries, and his father, Ed, quit his job to care for his son during the recovery process.

"There should be six-months leave given from the Family Medical Leave Act so that when you've got a person who is severely injured - a family member, a spouse or a child - a parent can leave their job for six months and not have to give it up and can be there by their bedside," she said. "That can make all the difference in the world when you think about this young Eric Edmundson in that hospital.

"We got that into law, and I'm proud of it. We worked across the aisle and we got it done."…

Dole, a Republican, is running against Democrat Kay Hagan to keep her seat in the U.S. Senate.

Dole reiterated her support for oil drilling off the North Carolina coast, saying fears about the effects on tourism have been countered with better technology that allows for safer drilling. She said the country's dependence on foreign oil necessitates an energy plan that allows for drilling in areas such as Alaska and the Rocky Mountains as well as alternative sources of fuel and conservation measures.

"We were at about a $1.40 per gallon for gasoline back in 2002," she said. "And today, of course, it's around $4."…

Dole said she would only support drilling that is at least 50 miles offshore. She said the state's share of profits from the drilling could go toward beach nourishment and inlet dredging, projects she said have been shortchanged over the years in the federal budget.

"It's the right thing for North Carolina," Dole said of offshore drilling.

Click here for the full article…


By James Shea
Hendersonville Times-News
August 21, 2008

Western North Carolina Republicans are gearing up for the fall election.

The North Carolina Republican Party opened its Victory 2008 regional office in Asheville on Tuesday, and John McCain’s campaign recently drafted former congressional candidate Spence Campbell of Hendersonville to help.

“The job is ultimately to get out the vote,” Campbell said. “They do that by working with volunteers.”

Stephen Duncan, a Republican activist in Western North Carolina, said Republican efforts start at the top and work down the ticket to state and national candidates.

“We are reaching right into the grassroots of Western North Carolina,” Duncan said.

Republicans are opening similar offices around the country with the help of the Republican National Committee. The offices will serve as a place to call potential Republican voters and encourage them to vote in November.

“It’s feeling out people, finding out their needs,” Duncan said.

Hendersonville Mayor Greg Newman traveled to Asheville on Wednesday for the opening of the Victory 2008 office. He said the office is an important part of the Republicans’ efforts in Western North Carolina.

“This is an old-fashioned get in touch with people,” Newman said….

The main thrust, for Campbell, is establishing coalitions. Examples of these are Veterans for McCain, Women for McCain and Sportsmen for McCain. Campbell wants to find leaders who can champion and organize each group.

“My job is to find people who can take the lead in these coalitions,” Campbell said.

Henderson County Republicans want to push the McCain candidacy, he said, which will then help all the other Republicans in the state.

“This all starts with McCain and filters down to the local offices,” Campbell said….

Click here for the full article…


By Vicky Eckenrode
August 21, 2008

New Hanover County Republicans officially opened their campaign headquarters on Wednesday, urging supporters to ramp up their efforts in the run up to Nov. 4.

"We are asking you to work hard. I'm going to ask you to ask your neighbor to work hard," North Carolina GOP Chairwoman Linda Daves said to about 50 people gathered outside the office at Wrightsville and Orchard avenues.

The Wilmington post was one of three county campaign offices Daves opened Wednesday, with the others in Fayetteville and Greenville.

The state party has been crisscrossing the state in recent weeks to set up similar headquarters, which also serve as regional offices to organize support for Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

The headquarters will reach out to voters in an eight-county region to promote McCain.

After Wednesday's events, the state GOP had nine such offices across the state, said state party spokesman Brent Woodcox. He said state and local party leaders are coordinating for races all the way down the Republican ticket.

"It's a joint effort focused on getting out the vote," Woodcox said….

Click here for the full article…


By Brock Letchworth
August 20, 2008

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole says Americans need experience in the White House — and that is why he is supporting Sen. John McCain in the presidential race.

Dole visited Greenville on Wednesday while stumping for McCain and a handful of other Republican candidates, including his wife, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

After spending the afternoon touring the East Carolina University campus, Dole served as the guest speaker at the grand opening of a local GOP “Victory Headquarters.”

Standing outside of the Commerce Street office, Dole announced his support for Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory's gubernatorial campaign, called his wife a brilliant woman who is currently being targeted by Democratic rival Kay Hagan and noted several other local and state GOP candidates he said deserve to be elected.

Dole said his nearly 30 years spent as a U.S. Senator taught him that no one is perfect, but also brought to light the importance of conservative values.

“There is a reason to have that philosophy,” Dole said. “When you're voting age, you want to make certain your children are not going to be saddled with a tax burden and more government and more programs that we're not going to be able to pay for.”

Dole praised McCain for his time in the military, but said it wasn't enough.

Instead, Dole said, it is the Arizona Senator's resume that voters should admire most.

“I've always felt that if I was going to have brain surgery, I would hope the doctor has done one or two more before I got there,” Dole said. “There is something about being first there that doesn't excite me. There is no question who has the experience. I'm not saying a bad thing about the other candidate, except the facts are he doesn't have the experience, and John McCain does.”…

The local GOP headquarters is one of nine the Republican party has opened statewide. It will feature one paid staff member and rely heavily on volunteers to register voters and promote early voting, said Brent Woodcox, party spokesman.

Woodcox said the office will serve more than 20 counties in eastern North Carolina.

Nearly 50 people attended Wednesday's event, including state GOP Chairman Linda Daves, state treasurer candidate Bill Daughtridge, District 5 Senate hopeful Louis Pate, N.C. House candidates Ginny Cooper and Dean Stephens, Pitt County Commissioner Jimmy Garris and Greenville City Councilman Max Joyner.

Click here for the full article…